Ok Cupid is one of the most famous online dating sites, although Tinder is making a run for its money. Though OK Cupid might try to entice users with the promise that they will find their soulmate – or at least a match. But in the past days, OK Cupid has had to take heat over its offensive questions – both user and staff created.
OK Cupid reaches more than 3 million people and the matches are made by an algorithm that is based on a user’s data as well as on the answers a user gives to the questions in the questionnaire. It is therefore paramount for users to answer these questions in order to complete their profile and get a higher chance for a match.
The nature of these questions will likely have irked many users – or at least they should – at some point or another but they are getting more media attention, now that a learning disability charity has asked OK Cupid to remove one particular question.
And that question is: “Would the world be a better place if people with low IQs were not allowed to reproduce?”
Many news outlets have asked OK Cupid to comment but so far no comment was made. In all likelihood, the reply will be somewhat similar to this: We are not responsible for user generated questions. And in any case, OK Cupid does not endorse that opinion but it is a good way for users to rule out potential matches based on discriminatory values.
Whatever the reasoning, Mencap – the learning disability charity – wants OK Cupid to delete the question. And for good reason. The question must be offensive to anyone with a learning disability and it cannot be unseen.
This offensive question is not even an exception. The questionnaires, the pride and glory of OK Cupid, are riddled with offensive questions. Whether they are slut shaming, offensive to overweight people, have a racist undertone or something else.
One question, for example, claims that it is a traditional wisdom that women cannot control their emotions. The questionnaire also asks if it is possible for overweight people to be sexy or, even worse, if users are disgusted by overweight people.
Granted, all of the above are user created questions, so OK Cupid really is not responsible for the phrasing. But Ok Cupid is responsible that these questions are asked on their website, as they would have the means to monitor what questions are asked.
One should probably not expect too much from OK Cupid, considering that their staff actually made (and uploaded!) a test that is meant to determine how much of a slut a woman is. Not only is it offensive in general to think of any woman of a slut but to make a woman’s sexual history a part of her dating profile is even worse. Needless to say, there is no equivalent test for men. And should a woman not have filled out this particular test, one can always hope that she answered the – again user created – question if a woman is a bad person if she has slept with one hundred men.
There are also a host of questions geared towards finding out if someone is a racist or has problems with racism. Yes, that is something that people might want to know about their possible future spouse but the fact that one even gets the option to answer in the affirmative makes it appear like that is an acceptable world view.
The site is known for another inappropriate message to users. If a person is judged to be attractive by other users and the algorithm, they are notified by an email that they are among OK Cupid’s most attractive users. The email concludes with a sentence assuring the user that not everyone received that notice, “go ask an ugly friend and see.”